Clones, clones, clones. Chinese clones. Phone clones. Chinese phone clones. They’re everywhere. Well, in China they are. But so far we’ve focused a lot on clones of high-end devices, be they not-yet-announced (the case the HTC One was in back when the GooPhone One caught our eye), or highly successful in terms of sales for quite a while (remember the GooPhone N2, anyone?).
But the Chinese clone makers aren’t just focused on the high-end. Midrange devices can work as their inspiration just as well. Take the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini. It’s a 4-inch handset that keeps the looks of its ‘bigger brother’, while in fact being an entirely different device, with very different specs. Still, its design is reminiscent of the Galaxy S III, so why not clone it?
That’s probably exactly what Neo thought. Hence, the Neo T001 was born. Keep in mind that Neo isn’t a clone-only business, for it’s also working on high-end devices that don’t look like carbon copies of something else – case in point, the N003.
Still, for the T001 the influence is clear. While it’s not 100% identical to the Galaxy S III Mini, it’s almost there. Obviously though, its specs are a bit toned down compared to the original. Not by much, though.
The Neo T001 has a 4-inch 480×800 touchscreen, a dual-core 1 GHz MediaTek MT6517 processor, 512 MB of RAM, a 5 MP rear camera, a 0.3 MP front camera, dual-SIM support, and a 1,500 mAh battery.
The low RAM is basically the only huge downside this has compared to the Samsung phone (which comes with 1 GB). The processor inside the clone may be made by a different company, but it’s still a dual-core 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 design. The rest of the specs are pretty much just like the Galaxy S III’s, while the Neo T001 brings dual-SIM support to the table as well, something missing from the Samsung.
But the Neo’s main advantage compared to the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini is its price. This clone will be retailing for just 399 yuan. That’s $65! And no, that’s not a typo. $65 for an unlocked phone that’s got specs very similar to the Galaxy S III Mini that’s priced a lot higher.
Obviously though, you have to live in China to get one of these, as Samsung’s lawyers would probably strike as soon as the Neo T001 leaves that territory.
We assume that Neo is making the T001 at a profit (even if very small), so we have to wonder what Samsung’s profit margin for the Galaxy S III Mini would be. Actually, we don’t. It’s certainly huge.